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Tiny pooch, owners hold up LIRR rush-hour train

A LIRR train in Bellport. (March 4, 2009)

A LIRR train in Bellport. (March 4, 2009) Photo Credit: Newsday/Ana P. Gutierrez

A three-pound Pomeranian became the center of attention aboard a westbound Long Island Rail Road train Friday after its owner initially refused to pay an additional fare and had a dog that wasn't in a cage.

The incident delayed the 6:21 a.m. train from Speonk almost 20 minutes at Babylon so Metropolitan Transportation Authority police could escort the woman, her two companions and the dog from the train.

The foursome were later allowed to board another train after police called a supervisor for permission for the uncaged dog to keep going with its owner to Jamaica.

Railroad spokesman Salvatore Arena said the dispute arose when the three passengers presented off-peak tickets to a conductor for the peak rush-hour train to Babylon.

The conductor informed the trio they needed to pay the extra fare because were aboard a peak train, but Arena said the threesome refused. The conductor then noticed the dog, which was not in a cage, he said. LIRR rules say animals must be "properly confined for shipment."

The police were called to resolve the dispute and the three passengers and the dog were removed from the train, but not before the mess caused an 18-minute delay.

Finally, Arena said, the trio agreed to pay the penalty for the tickets. And police arranged for a special dispensation for the dog so the woman could get to a doctor's appointment in Jamaica.

The woman was asked to place the small Pom into a bag - and she carried it back aboard a later train, he said.

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